“The Brothers Karamazov” has the perfect murder. Furthermore, the murderer is a proxy for someone who could never have murdered but feels guilty all the same. And the person for whom the proxy acts is so wracked with guilt, he might as well have committed the crime. There is a phenomenal scene where that person talks to the devil who he realizes is a figment of his imagination, but who is so real that even the reader believes he is real.
Dostoevsky mentions furniture just once. He refers to a house as being furnished in an “old fashioned” style. I can’t imagine what that would be, but I would love to know what was considered old fashioned in 1880 and what would have been considered a la mode.
Russian literature which I have read very little of–two novels by Tolstoy, two by Dostoevsky and one by Mikhail Bulgakov–is extremely compelling. They are so rich over the last two to three hundred pages that you don’t want to stop reading and yet you hope they won’t end. The understanding of human nature in all of these books has been profound. I think about what Thomas Cahill said in “Sailing the Wine Dark Sea” about how the ancient Greeks were into the essence of things and Romans were into the form. The Russians and the Greeks must be related.